Coast KZN

14 Jan 2022

Sewage pollution negatively impacts fishing

(North Coast Courier: Sealice) Picture: Peter Mitchell, Thys Bezuidenhout and Riaan de Jonge show off their dorado caught off Ballito last Friday. The trio are all members of the Ballito Ski Boat Club and said the day of fishing proved great with the return of fish owing to warmer water temperatures.

While thunderstorms and winds are expected this time of year, sewage spills out to sea is not.

At the weekend, beaches from Umgeni Mouth southward were closed owing to high levels of E.coli. Last week I noticed a comment by a South Coast angler, warning anglers of raw sewerage pouring into the sea at Uvongo. Polluted water from Umgeni River flowed in since the beginning of the weekend, stretching far out to sea.

Local anglers were not affected but there was a suggestion that the Hazelmere Dam was reaching levels which would necessitate water being released. People living along the Umdloti River banks were warned of possible flooding. It remains to be seen what this excess water will bring down with it should this happen.

The summer game fish season is in full swing and the Mozambique current is now close inshore. Evidence of this can be seen with the number of blue bottles appearing at the high-water mark.

Several offshore angling clubs have already held domestic fishing competitions, and the recent Durban Ski Boat Club competition attracted 80 boats and a number of game fish were brought in, mainly dorado. Along with the dorado were a number of big yellowfin tuna and several nice sized barracouta. The dorado are proving to be plentiful again this year and several big bull dorado have been caught and brought ashore.

The Tongaat Ski Boat Club held its monthly mug competition this past Saturday, but unfortunately results have not been provided.

The warm water has seen a number of sailfish being caught, with most of the fish being released unharmed. Several marlin have also been boated by billfish anglers fishing out deep. The marlin caught were mostly of the striped and black variety, and fishing for marlin has been aided by the abundance of live bait in the form of bonito, easily found during early morning periods.

Some of the guys out deep have found big trawl soldiers feeding as well, and a number of big trawlies were brought ashore.

Although there have been a number of big couta caught, dirty inshore conditions have been a bit of a problem. Some anglers have resorted to fishing the slightly deeper water reefs to target couta, with good results.

A usual popular spot, Umdloti, has remained deserted until recently. It is reported that a number of big Zambezi sharks are operating in the area. The La Mercy stretch is also a bit quiet at present, but there has been a significant amount of dirty water.

Apparently, bottom fishing has become a bit more popular now that there are more charter skippers operating. Most of the species targeted have been rock cod and red fish species.

There have been a couple of near misses recorded so far with craft launching and beaching, so hopefully no serious incidents will be reported. Every summer has had its share of casualties over the years and this year is unlikely to be different, especially if skippers try and force a launch.

On the South Coast, early morning anglers fishing the upper beaches recorded some respectable shad catches. Normally this time of the year anglers mainly catch small green shad, but last week lucky anglers managed to find several shad weighing up to 2.5 kg.

The local surf anglers told me fishing was a bit slow with little to boast about. Now is the time to change tactics and move away from fillet baits, instead concentrating on live crab, sea lice when available, plus mussels and other variations of rock bait. Baby squid, readily available at supermarkets, are highly recommended.

The summer flatfish will soon be more prevalent, but at present anglers should target mullet, wave garrick and other species found in the shorebreak.